Sunday, June 24, 2012

morsi officially wins

despite the inevitable freak-out by bloggers on the right, today's announcement that the muslim brotherhood won the egyptian presidential election is a good thing. not because i'm a fan of the MB. but since the election it's been pretty clear that mohamed morsi got the most votes. the real question was whether the government would acknowledge what really happened, or if they would try to get away with declaring the military's favorite, ahmed shafik, the winner.

i'm puzzled by the sarcastic questions i see in blog post titles about the result. things like "So How’s That ‘Arab Spring’ Spread of Freedom and Democracy Thing Working Out?" or "So how’s that Arab Spring thing working out?" today's announcement was about the results of the second round of the presidential election. that contest was between morsi, the MB candidate, and shafik, the former prime minister of the mubarak regime. if the results had gone the other way and delivered the presidency to a guy from the old order, then that would have raised questions whether the egyptian revolution had failed. by electing morsi instead, the egyptian people have chosen a different government to lead them. in fact, they have chosen a political party that was banned by the old regime. that fact is a testament to the arab spring's success, not failure.

what they're really saying is they don't like the party that won the election. but who gives a shit what a bunch of rightwing blowhards in america think? real democracy means the egyptian people get to decide this stuff.

just to be clear: i think the jury is still out on whether the arab spring was a success or a failure. actually, i think each country's "arab spring" revolution will have to be judged individually. but even so, it can take years after an old order is overthrown before the new order is definitively established. the u.s. declared its independence in 1776. the constitution didn't go into effect until 1789, 13 years later. in the meantime, there was the failure of the articles of confederation and a series of upheavals like shay's rebellion. even after the constitution was signed, there were two other serious rebellions against the nascent american state. for two decades after the american revolution began, the facts suggested the revolution had been a failure. not to get into too much of a tangent on american history, but i think it's foolish to think we can already have any idea about whether the arab spring in any particular country has succeeded or failed. anyone who says otherwise is just demagoguing.

(the picture at the top of the post is from here)